First 3D Printed House to Be Built In Amsterdam

“The building industry is one of the most polluting and inefficient industries out there,” Hedwig Heinsman of Dus Architects tells The Guardian‘s Olly Wainwright, “With 3D-printing, there is zero waste, reduced transportation costs, and everything can be melted down and recycled. This could revolutionise how we make our cities.”

Working with another Dutch firm, UltimakerDus Architects have developed the KamerMaker (Room Maker), a 3D Printer big enough to print chunks of buildings, up to 2x2x3.5 meters high, out of hotmelt, a bio-plastic mix that’s about 75% plant oil. The chunks can then be stacked and connected together like LEGO bricks, forming multi-story homes whose designs can be adapted according to users’ needs/desires. For Dus’ first project, they’ve taken as inspiration the Dutch canal house, replacing hand-laid bricks with, in Wainwright’s words, “a faceted plastic facade, scripted by computer software.”

So far, only a 3m-high, 180-kg sample corner of the future canal house has been printed; moreover, the blocks will need to be back-filled with lightweight concrete, meaning it’s not yet as biodegradable as its creators would like. However, its game-changing potential is already provoking much interest in the public; over 2,000 people have come to visit the site, including Barack Obama. Learn more at The Guardian and in the video above.

Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "First 3D Printed House to Be Built In Amsterdam" 02 Apr 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=491666>
  • Tardigrade

    Just make 3D printing a “tiny bit” faster :).

  • Andi Kara

    Do we really produce so much waste that we can recycle it for printing entire districts?
    If any citizen can build his own house on a website as easy as playing with lego, will this affect the value of our profession?
    Can plastic reach a level where it can be used all around the world, like in countries with heave snowfall, rain, sun exposure, earthquake areas?

    Just asking…

  • ww

    lovely 1 April joke

    • lovegiant

      Was posted on April 2. And even if it was an april fool’s joke. Not a very good one, since they are actually developing this.

    • LoveGiant

      This was posted on April 2. And even if it was, it’s not a very good one as this is actually being developed. :)

  • Neme Ranx

    So funny, this is that 1% giving Maria Antonietta help to the 99%… plastic? local materials? personalised design from a database? …just some hipsters playing designers (not architects).

  • Ngan

    We need a rapid support infracstructure and rapid environmental solutions rather than building more

  • Chris A.

    75% Plant oil is still 25% petrochemical plastic,

    Back to the drawing board

  • Ben Jastram

    Why in the world, would someone like to live in a plastic box?

    I really cant see the innovation here. They use ABS-Plastics that is all but environmentally friendly if you think about the energy used for the process. Even if you use PLA-plastics, that everyone thinks its a biomaterial and therefore environmentally friendly, it is still using much energy to melt it. Just for your information: when PLA (poly lactide acid) degrades it becomes an acid – not very bio in the end, infact you dont want it to get into the soil.

    However the build process needs stable thermal conditions to guarantee the interconnection of the layers. How are you planning to do this – build a house around the printer?

    Regarding the shipping costs, you also have to transport the printer to its working area as well as the material for it.

    What about horizontal build parts, wouldn´t you need a support structure? How do you solve the problem with gas transmission throug the walls, what about insulation, and so on and so forth? How about all the qualities of the “real” materials like wood, glass, concrete, bricks, stone etc. – aren´t they recyclable, too? Dont you think it is a little arogant to say that this technology is solving the problems of a 10.000 year lasting evolution in building houses?

    Don´t get me wrong, i love 3d- printing – in fact i am working with it since 10 years now and running a department at a university for additive manufacturing technologies – but there´s a point when its use just gets absurd!

    And for the sake of our profession, dont let some architect-wannabees realize their own crude ideas of something we had to study many hard years for!

  • Brandon

    These people are just on a research and it doesn’t necessarily mean a good thing. Architecture is just becoming just too materialized and what these people are doing is just de-valuing the works of architects. Machine can never replace the works of hands. And we’re not really expecting a printing company to take over the entire tradition of designing things. Modular things are never good. They don’t guarantee a good mental health for everybody. It might suit for some and not to some. I would love to see a plastic house getting burnt down and the people coming out will all be plastic coated.

    • Colton

      “modular things are never good” the brick would like to have a word with you…

  • Alex

    Why is everyone so negative? Development of any technology is an incremental and slow-moving process. It’s important to prototype at full-scale and identify the problems one encounters. I really admire them for trying to do this, even if the materials aren’t perfect and the process is still crude. The world is changing, and the role of the designer may have to change as well, the worst thing architects could do is refuse to recognize the world is changing and demand everyone listen to them anyway.